Record-breaking is becoming routine in Anaheim. For the fourth consecutive year, the city surpassed its previous high mark for visitor volume. Last year, 23 million visitors streamed into the Orange County metropolis to enjoy its signature attractions and attend events at Anaheim Convention Center, the largest on the West Coast.
The total represents a 2.3 percent increase over the 2015 visitor tally, and the continuation of a trend that has seen a 33 percent spike in tourism growth since 2011. Visitor spending is up, too—74 percent over the past five years, to be precise. In 2016, the local economy benefited from an $8.1 billion infusion of tourists’ dollars, which bested the previous year’s total by 7.2 percent.
Those visitors aren’t coming just for Disneyland. Variety and strategic development are two factors powering the growth cycle. New luxury hotels, sports and entertainment complexes, and an emphasis on health and wellness are luring visitors also. Partnerships with USA Badminton, USA Volleyball and USA Water Polo bring Olympic-level athletes and spectators to town.
“Anaheim is a magical destination that continues to inspire and delight domestic and international visitors year after year,” said Jay Burress, president & CEO of Visit Anaheim. “2016 was a monumental year for our city as we saw renewed commitment from our greater tourism industry to invest in the destination. More hotels were proposed and built, theme park expansion was announced, number of breweries doubled—paving the way for us to welcome even more visitors to our awe-inspiring city.”
Another key development is the expansion of the Anaheim Convention Center, which will add the 200,000-sq.-ft. ACC North in 2017, just in time for its 50th anniversary. Together, the convention center expansion and increased hotel inventory promise to secure Anaheim’s continued popularity as a meetings and conventions destination. Major 2016 events held at ACC included National Association of Music Merchants’ annual convention, Natural Products Expo West and IAEE Expo! Expo!